Editor's note - Since this story was printed, it was announced that due to COVID-19, the Montana FFA convention has been cancelled.

The Dawson County FFA chapter at the Dawson County High School in Glendive is preparing to head to the 90th Montana FFA convention March 25-28 in Great Falls.

The high school chapter will be one of more than 94 chapters in communities all over the state planning to attend the annual state convention.

“We are a new chapter, organizing last year, and we are going to the state convention,” said Leeanne Hoaglund, the co-owner of Big Sky Shires and Equine Services is the perfect advisor for the new chapter. Hoaglund has extensive experience with all kinds of livestock, especially sheep. She holds clinics for sheep and lambs and horses.

Dawson County FFA held a very unique “Kiss-A-Sheep” fund-raiser at the high school and GATE show, where those who donated money for the FFA students to go to the state convention, could nominate someone to kiss a sheep.

“FFA students were excited that we raised $850 to go to state,” Hoaglund said. Hoaglund’s friendly sheep named June, went into the high school, where the sheep was kissed. “June is happy to be back at the high school for our FFA ‘Kiss a Sheep’ contest. She’s pretty happy being back.”

FFA students will travel from more than 94 communities across Montana to compete in career-oriented contests and be recognized for their accomplishments.

Dawson County FFA will be competing in the contests: Floriculture, Ag Sales, Agronomy, Livestock Judging, Horse Judging, Employment Skills, Ag Issues, Talent, Vet Science.

“At the convention, Dawson County FFA student Chay VanDyke, Dawson’s current president from 2018-2019, is running for state officer,” Hoaglund said. “Hannah Beach has been selected to sing the national anthem to open a general session and Ryan DeSaye is performing in the talent contest.”

More than 2,000 FFA members and guests plan to attend the convention.

The Montana FFA State Convention will host several career development events (CDE), general sessions and workshops during the four-day event.

The winning teams earn the opportunity to compete at the National FFA Convention.

The convention is a multi-faceted event that allows students ample opportunity to gain leadership and personal development skills, and constructively compete against their peers.  Students also have a chance to interact in the Great Falls community through a Day of Service, several area tours, and with local businesses in the convention tradeshow.

The CDE events in the past have included: Ag Sales, Ag Tech, Mechanics, Agronomy, Livestock Judging, Horse Judging, Employment Skills, Creed Speaking and other speaking events, Farm Business Management, Ag Issues, Talent, and Vet Science, plus the Agriscience Fair.

The FFA encourages their members to get involved and develop a truly positive set of attitudes and skills that will enable them to become tomorrow’s leaders.

For 90 years, Montana has been celebrating the future of agriculture with its annual FFA state convention and trade show.

Students will travel from many communities across Montana to compete in career-oriented contests and be recognized for their accomplishments.

The convention is a multifaceted event that allows students ample opportunity to gain leadership and personal development skills, and constructively compete against their peers. Students also have a chance to interact in the Billings community through a Day of Service, several area tours, and with local businesses in the convention trade show.

Montana Business and Industry representatives sponsor the event, as well as promot their businesses during the two-day FFA Tradeshow.  The Montana FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.

The public is invited to attend any part of the convention at no cost.

Looking back in history, the ‘Future Farmers of America’ was founded a group of young farmers in 1928.

In 1998, Montana had 72 FFA chapters around the state and some 1,400 FFA students.

In 2020, Montana has 94 chapters, and some 5,500 FFA students

Their mission is to prepare future generations for the challenges of feeding a growing population. Agriculture is more than planting and harvesting – it’s a science, it’s a business and it’s an art.

FFA continues to help the next generation rise up to meet those challenges by helping its members to develop their own unique talents and explore their interests in a broad range of career pathways.

For more, visit the www.montanaffa.org website.